Jimmy Savile 'interfered' with bodies of the dead
Disgraced DJ suspected of 'sexually interfering' with dead bodies at Leeds General Infirmary
Jimmy Savile sexually assaulted victims aged five to 75 in NHS hospitals, according to a series of major investigations. The Department of Health has published reports into links between the disgraced Top Of The Pops and Jim'll Fix It presenter and 28 hospitals across the UK. According to the findings, Savile abused patients in their beds, in corridors and offices. In Leeds General Infirmary alone, he is accused of abusing 60 victims and even boasted of sex acts with the dead in the infirmary's morgue.
The BBC DJ died aged 84 in October 2011 – a year before allegations of child abuse were first broadcast in an ITV documentary called Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile. The revelations sparked a flurry of allegations from other alleged victims.
How many allegations have there been?
A Metropolitan Police report, Giving Victims a Voice, published in January 2013, revealed that officers had recorded 214 crimes in 28 police forces against Savile, including 34 allegations of rape. The allegations spanned six decades, starting in 1955 and ending in 2009, with the majority of offences taking place between 1966 and 1976. An NSPCC report, published earlier this month, said the number of abuse reports has since reached at least 500, the allegations even include an attack on a two-year-old. The charity said Savile was "without doubt one of the most prolific sex offenders we have ever come across".
Who did Savile abuse?
The majority of Savile's victims were female and under 16. Offences were mainly opportunistic sexual assaults, but some victims were said to be groomed. There were at least 40 recorded offences against male victims, one of whom was just eight-years-old. One woman claimed she met Savile in a nightclub at the age of 14 and was raped when she later visited his home. One man said he was ten-years-old when he asked for Savile's autograph outside a hotel and was seriously sexually assaulted in the hotel's reception.
Where did the abuse take place?
Most offences occurred in Savile's home town Leeds or his main place of work London. But there were allegations of offences at hospitals, including Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, mental care establishments and a hospice. Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary were targets for Savile as he worked at both places as a porter. Television and radio studios and several schools were also identified as places where abuse took place. BBC premises were on this list, including an allegation involving the final recording of Top of the Pops in July 2006.
Why did the accusations take so long to emerge?
Only a handful of victims came forward to the police when Savile was still alive. In most of these cases either the victim decided not to take action or prosecutors decided there was not enough evidence. However, an internal inquiry by the Crown Prosecution Service later found that Savile could have been prosecuted over three allegations while he was alive if police and prosecutors had taken a "different approach". Following Savile's death, BBC Newsnight was close to revealing claims by victims at Duncroft, an approved school in Surrey, but its six-week investigation was dropped. This led to accusations of a BBC cover-up and the resignation of director-general George Entwistle. A subsequent review, headed by former head of Sky News Nick Pollard, found that there was no cover-up but highlighted failings in the BBC management.
What has been published today?
The Department of Health has been investigating the links between Savile and 35 hospitals and care homes. Today it published the results for 28 hospitals, including particularly detailed reports on Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor psychiatric hospital. The reports say Savile was allowed unsupervised access to vulnerable patients, while staff failed to question the risks of his unconventional and promiscuous lifestyle. Several victims said they told a member of staff about their ordeal but this was not passed on to those in more senior positions.
At Leeds, 60 people came forward to say they had been abused. Savile was also suspected of "sexually interfering" with the bodies of the dead when he was volunteering as a hospital porter there 30 years ago. One witness said he wore rings made from the glass eyes of dead bodies in the infirmary's mortuary, reports The Times. Investigators say they have no way of verifying the claims but described his interest in the dead as "deeply unwholesome" and said controls on access to the mortuary were "not robust". Eleven allegations of sexual abuse were reported by patients and staff at Broadmoor, but investigators suspect the numbers underestimate the reality. The Broadmoor report describes a culture that allowed sexual liaisons between staff and patients and discouraged reporting of concerns. A key report into Savile's activities at Stoke Mandeville has been delayed after new information recently came to light.
What other investigations have taken place?
As well as the Department of Health investigations, there have been numerous others, including:
- Operation Yewtree: Scotland Yard's formal criminal investigation into Savile's alleged offences. This expanded to include allegations against other celebrities.
- Crown Prosecution Service: The internal review of the CPS's decision not to prosecute Savile while he was still alive.
- Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary: An investigation into the opportunities missed by police between 1964 and 2012.
- Three BBC investigations: Apart from Pollard's inquiry into Newsnight, the BBC is also under investigation over whether its culture and practice enabled Savile to carry out the sexual abuse of children. A third inquiry, led by Dinah Rose QC, looked at sexual harassment at the BBC and led to the corporation overhauling its bullying and harassment policy.